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How we made the LEGO® Icons Transformers Bumblebee set

How the designer of the LEGO® Icons Transformers Bumblebee set made a Robot in Disguise

For more than thirty years, the Transformers have appeared in animated cartoon series, video games, blockbuster movies, and as fan-favorite toys.

In 2022, the series made its debut as a LEGO® set with the LEGO Icons Optimus Prime set, based on the iconic leader of the Autobots.

Now, we’re giving Optimus Prime some company with the release of the LEGO Icons Transformers Bumblebee set, based on one of the most beloved characters in the series.

While designing every LEGO set brings its own fascinating challenges, there’s something especially complicated about having to design two sets that transform seamlessly into one another.

To learn more about the new LEGO Icons Transformers Bumblebee set and its remarkable design process, we spoke to designer and Transformers superfan, Samuel Liltorp Johnson.

MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE

The first question we had to ask Samuel, was how do you design a set that is actually two sets?

The answer is… with great difficulty!

“It took me one year to design this set,” says Samuel. “It was not a fast process in any way! For example, I probably built the legs about fifty times before I found a leg that actually worked.”

The challenge is in capturing the thing that has always made Transformers special… how they move from vehicle to robot, without breaking apart. But doing that with LEGO bricks pushed Samuel’s thirteen years of experience as a designer to its limit.

“These shapes have to move and twist and turn,” says Samuel. “But there are limitations because LEGO bricks can mostly only move in a linear way.”

And as if to make his job even harder, Samuel set himself an additional challenge for the design made specifically to honor collectors and fans of the LEGO Icons Optimus Prime set.

“I set myself the principle that it had to be in scale with Optimus Prime,” he says. “I am a toy collector and one of the things that’s important to me is that, if I’ve got a glass cabinet and I’ve got Optimus Prime in it, and I want to put Bumblebee next to it, they must look right.”

We’re starting to think that Samuel likes a challenge.

“I like finding ways to make the impossible possible,” he says, with a glint in his eye.

BUMBLEBEE BROUGHT TO LIFE

Samuel’s determination has paid off, and the set he has created is truly extraordinary.

The result of an incredible amount of innovation and imagination, the LEGO Icons Transformers Bumblebee set is a meticulously detailed model of the iconic 1980s robot action figure that converts from Autobot to vehicle mode.

The Autobot comes with articulated joints, an ion blaster and a jetpack, while the vehicle is in the bright yellow with black trim that gives Bumblebee his name.

The set is filled with details that superfans (like Samuel) will appreciate, including nods to the Transformer’s home planet Cybertron, the original Bumblebee toy done by Hasbro and a date with a special significance for fans of the animated films.

It also comes with a display plaque listing power statistics that will add the finishing touch to a captivating display, especially if positioned alongside Optimus Prime.

THE ENDURING APPEAL OF ROBOTS IN DISGUISE

The Transformers are in a rare group of franchises that have stood the test of time, found popularity around the world with multiple generations and appeared in multiple formats.

We asked Samuel what he believed is behind this enduring appeal.

“It’s robots and cars!” he laughs. “What’s not to like, right? You’ve got the two most popular toys in one.”

However, Samuel also believes that their popularity has a lot to do with the main characters, who have become beloved in their own right.

“It’s very easy to choose your favorite character,” he says. “You can choose the kind of underdog character, or you can choose the leader. In the case of Bumblebee, I think a lot of people like him because he’s the teenager and is looking up to the more powerful leader.”

ONE SET, SO MANY POSSIBILITIES

The Transformers are all about versatility, and this set is a testament to that quality.

Whether you want a set to role-play with Optimus Prime, are looking for your next great display, or want a challenging build that will show you how Samuel managed to make the impossible possible, you’re sure to love the LEGO Icons Transformers Bumblebee set.

HASBRO and TRANSFORMERS and all related trademarks, characters, logos, names and storylines are owned by Hasbro, Inc. ©2024 Hasbro.

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